Story: An Encounter With A Mumbai Girl
First Chapter of the Novel 'My Pen Friend My Love'
A story of friendship when there was no internet and exchanging letters was the only way of getting new friends. It is a trues story, but names except mine are changed -Mahavir Sanglikar
It was 1988. I was going to cross my 30th year of age. Still unmarried. Was working as a photographer in my uncle's Photo Studio. I was getting much free time after studio work. In this free time, I liked to read Newspapers, books and sometimes to write short articles for magazines.
In the middle of 1988, I started a small magazine devoted to social activities. One day I got a letter from an organization from Mumbai, the financial capital of India, requesting to send some copies of my magazine for displaying in the exhibition of magazines it was going to arrange. Accordingly, I sent copies of the latest issue of my magazine with some back issues. Then another letter came from the organization with an invitation to the event, but because of some other work, I was not able to visit the exhibition.
Weeks passed and I had completely forgotten about the exhibition. I was reading a book at noon in the studio and the Postman came. He gave me a bunch of letters and few money orders. He took a look at the Newspaper headlines, chatted about here and there and then went to the next shop.
I started to sort the letters and suddenly stopped when I saw an envelope with my address written on it in beautiful letters. Surely it was handwriting of a girl, I thought and overturned the letter to see if there was sender's name on the other side. Yes, there was her name with address.
I put aside all the letters and and opened that one with a knife. There was a two pages letter in the envelope. I started to read it... Here is just a summary of the letter.
Dear Mr. Editor,
I saw some back issues of your magazine in an exhibition at our city. It is the first magazine I have seen which gives different kind of information and helps the reader to create network between social activities.
I am a young girl from Mumbai, just completed my graduation in Arts.
I would like to subscribe your magazine. Sending subscription for one year by Money Order.
Thanking you once again for bringing out such an informative magazine. Hoping to receive a letter from you, I like to receive letters.
I punched the letter and put it in a file titling 'Subscribers'. Then started to read other letters. Two days passed and I got a subscription Money Order from her. I immediately sent her latest issue of the magazine with 2 back issues, and a receipt of the subscription. But I didn't reply her letter.
After a week, I again got a letter from that girl. She had written lot of things about here and there, but the first line was, 'You did not reply my first letter..Why so? please drop some lines.'
Suddenly I thought I should reply both of her letters. But I avoided it. This was my policy....Not to write letters to girls. There was a reason for it. In previous days, I have enjoyed exchanging letters with many girls. I had realized that most of the time pen friendship with girls digress us from pure form of friendship. Further it wastes lot of time. These were facts at least for me. So I put the letter in the file and concentrated myself in my routine work.
She didn't wait for reply. Within a week from her second letter, she again wrote me. It was short. In red letters. I was shocked to read it.
Dear Mr. Editor,
I am afraid why you are not replying my letters. Are you so busy that you have no time to reply? Or are you doing it intentionally? If you do not want to reply my letters, please send my money back immediately. I am sending back the copies of your magazine you sent to me-Your subscriber No. 112/71
It was shocking for me. No one until then had written such a letter to me. But I took it as a funny letter.
Next day I went to the post office, and sent her money back by Money Order.
I was feeling free now. I was hoping that she will not write any more letters to me.
(To be Continued)